Video gamer to race car driver: Policarpio wins Asian Nissan GT Academy competition
ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 22, 2015 05:25 PM
Filipino Joward Policarpio after ruling the Asian Nissan GT Academy competition in London, United Kingdom.
From video game console to real race car steering wheel.
Filipino Joward Policarpio came closer to realizing his dream of becoming a professional race car driver winning the Asian Nissan GT Academy competition last Thursday in London, United Kingdom.
The 26-year-old Policarpio, using a Nissan 370 Z won in the final 5-car, 10-lap race by .2 of a second at the historic Silvetr Stone Race Track – the circuit used by the British Grand Prix – and as an added bonus, he will compete in the 24-hour Dubai race next year.
GT Academy is a reality show that aims to discover raw racing talents among thousands of video gamers who play Gran Turismo on their Playstations and convert them to real pro drivers.
Six from the 15,000 video gamers that joined the search in the Philippines were sent to London together with other six representatives coming from Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Filipino pro driver Marlon Stockinger was the Philippine team’s coach but was not able to watch the finals because of his own racing commitment in Belgium.
The teams went thru several challengers from physical to racing all sorts of stock cars to Nissan Nismo to even Formula cars heading into the final day of competition.
Policarpio started at third position in the grid. But the Pinoy racer attacked early to zoom past Japan into second place. He kept pressuring the lead car Indonesia and took advantage of an opening in the fourth lap to take the lead.
“After I got the Japense guy in the village corner, I was then aiming for the 1st placer, the Indonesian guy. And when I saw him make a mistake a few laps later I said there's my opportunity right there and I just took it,” Policarpio said.
The Indonesian rider caught up with Policarpio in the final lap for an exciting wind up that saw the Filipino cross the line first by a hairline.
“Because I made a mistake as well and the car was losing power. Because there was a fuel surge every time we turned right,” said Policarpio of the final lap action.
“I was very nervous and a bit scared as well because I didn’t want him to pass me,” he added. “I didn't even know it was done coz we missed the checkered flag!”
The whole season of the Nissan GT Academy Asia will air at the end of the year exclusively om ABS-CBN Sports + Action Channel 23.